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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2011 Dec;23(6):676-85. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Endothelial development taking shape.

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Vascular Patterning Laboratory, Vesalius Research Center, VIB, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Blood vessel development is a vital process during embryonic development, during tissue growth, regeneration and disease processes in the adult. In the past decade researchers have begun to unravel basic molecular mechanisms that regulate the formation of vascular lumen, sprouting angiogenesis, fusion of vessels, and pruning of the vascular plexus. The understanding of the biology of these angiogenic processes is increasingly driven through studies on vascular development at the cellular resolution. Single cell analysis in vivo, advanced genetic tools and the widespread use of powerful animal models combined with improved imaging possibilities are delivering new insights into endothelial cell form, function and behavior angiogenesis. Moreover, the combination of in silico modeling and experimentation including dynamic imaging promotes insights into higher level cooperative behavior leading to functional patterning of vascular networks. Here we summarize recent concepts and advances in the field of vascular development, focusing in detail on the endothelial cell.

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